December 8, 2010

Beg, Borrow or Steal This Issue

Posted in Inspiration, Job Success, Reference, Resources at 3:10 pm by melissaautumn

Okay, don’t steal it, because stealing is wrong (and you can read the issue online). But, you definitely want to read the fall 2010 issue of Reference & User Services Quarterly (RUSQ).

RUSQ is already one of my favorite journals – it is full of well written articles on a range of reference topics. But, this fall’s issue is spectacularly jam packed with awesomeness:

  • An annotated bibliography of books, articles and resources for reader’s advisory. This is now the go-to source if you want to learn more about reader’s advisory or beef up your collection of resources.
  • A biography of notable librarian Helen Haines.
  • The previously mentioned “Best Free Reference Websites: 12th Annual List.”
  • The annual “Best Historical Materials” list.
  • Four substantial, practical articles:
    • Using wikis to create a ready reference tool for information sharing at the reference desk.
    • Factors that influence people to pursue librarianship. Fellow professionals take note – there’s a lot we can do to encourage promising young (and not so young) people to enter librarianship!
    • Reaching college students through residence halls. This one not only discusses reasons to do outreach in the halls, it gives tons of practical ideas for doing so.
    • Developing guidelines for the use of social software.
  • Updated RUSA “Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services.”

All that and the usual book reviews, too!


December 4, 2010

Illinois Information Literacy Summit – Call for Proposals

Posted in Professional Success at 9:59 pm by melissaautumn

Midwest folks…

A number of my students have attended this one day IL conference and found it very helpful. The conference isn’t until April (but keep your eyes open for registration in the spring), however there’s a call for proposals out and one of the coordinators specifically asked me to share it with students. So, it looks like this could be a good opportunity to lead a breakout session at a conference (and note the call is for proposals around creativity, so you could bring in previous work experience in another field).

10th Annual Information Literacy Summit
Inspiring Creativity


Monday, April 18, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Illinois State University (Normal, IL)

Tuesday, April 19, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Moraine Valley Community College (Palos Hills)

Wednesday, April 20, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
John A. Logan College (Carterville)


Creativity—designing, planning, producing, etc.— is the highest level of thinking on the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. This year’s Summit asks us to connect creativity with information literacy and instruction.


We’re seeking volunteers to lead interesting and interactive discussions relating to information literacy or library instruction. You can volunteer for one or more sessions at any of the three Summit locations. Each has its own breakout sessions.  You can also recommend someone else who may be a good breakout session presenter. Please consider recommending people from outside libraries.  We encourage all types of libraries, schools and other organizations  to participate.  For the Summit to be most effective, we need many perspectives.

Session topics may focus on anything related to information seeking and use. Special consideration will be given to topics related to this year’s theme of “Inspiring Creativity.”  Breakout sessions will be 50 minutes long and should include audience interaction or discussion.  Panels are encouraged.  Because of the limited amount of time, we encourage panels to be limited to three people.  Having more than three presenters limits the time for attendee interaction and questions. Sessions typically have 20-40 participants.

To propose a breakout session:

DEADLINE to submit proposals:  Friday, January 7, 2011

Not sure about your idea? Feel free to contact a Summit Coordinator for inspiration or help in refining your proposal.

Some ideas to get you thinking …

  • Youth or young adult programs that encourage creative use of information
  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Infusing creativity and curiosity in information literacy
  • Assessing the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • Librarians’ role in ACRL Standard 4 (“The information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.”)



John A. Logan College
Coordinator: Judy Vineyard, Associate Dean of Library Services,, 618-985-3741 x8404

Moraine Valley Community College
Coordinators: Barb Rys, Library Access Services Specialist,, 708-974-5467;
Leslie Warren, Information Literacy Librarian,
, 708-974-5734

Illinois State University
Coordinator: Dane Ward, Associate Dean of University Libraries, Public Service,, (309) 438-3481

December 2, 2010

Undergraduate Library Rap

Posted in Inspiration at 3:34 pm by melissaautumn

This is a bit of a departure for my blog, but three of my former students worked on this awesome video, so I had to share it.

Great work Dave, Dominick, and Jim (and Susan)!

December 1, 2010

Professional Development, Professional Identity and Looking to the Future

Posted in Job Success, Professional Success at 1:43 pm by melissaautumn

I had an interesting discussion with a colleague the other day. We were talking about how we could position ourselves for the jobs we’d like to have in the future, even if we don’t know exactly what those jobs will be. How can we stay competitive on the job market? How can we demonstrate the versatility of our skills, particularly if like me, you’ve taken a very niche job?

For example, as much as I love my part-time teaching, I do miss being a library director and might want to return to a full-time job in a library one day. In addition, my husband’s job provides our health insurance and a significant portion of our income; should something happen to him, I would most likely have to return to full-time employment. So, while I do not have immediate plans to make a career change, I know I need to keep myself in a position where I am competitive on the job market.

As I see it, remaining competitive on the job market involves multiple things – engaging in professional development to keep my knowledge and skills up to date; creating a professional identity for myself; and maintaining connections with my colleagues.

A lot of thoughts keep cycling through my mind:

  • Professional development requires a combination of personal commitment, money and time. The most important of these is personal commitment, even though we tend to blame our lack of professional development activities on money and time.
  • There are multiple ways to engage in professional development, including professional reading, conferences and workshops. The first step is the find the combination that is right for us.
  • There are many ways to establish a professional identity – blogging, professional writing, committee service. While all of these take some effort, they are also easier to get into than I suspected.
  • As introverted as I am, creating and maintaining connections with my colleagues gives me great pleasure. In addition, it is the conversations with and support from those colleagues that motivates me to engage in professional development and building my professional identity. Everything is easier with a friend.
  • These activities are all self-reinforcing. The more that I blog, read or write, the more I enjoy it. The longer I go without blogging, reading or writing, the harder it is to get back into the swing of things.

As I bring some structure to my thoughts, a lot of these ideas will become blog posts in the coming year. I thought this was going to be a new series of three to four posts on professional development, but it seems I have a lot more to say, so perhaps this is just a continuation of my blog’s original purpose – practical advice on being a good professional. In any case, stay tuned!